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Do Trader Joe’s Employees Get Free Food? (Answered)

Do Trader Joe's Employees Get Free Food

Trader Joe’s is one of the largest supermarket chains in the United States, although it doesn’t look like it. Unlike other major grocery stores, Trader Joe’s prefers to have smaller buildings and a much more family-friendly approach to things. They really care about their employees, but do Trader Joe’s employees get free food?

Trader Joe’s employees do get free food, but only through store tastings. If they want to get food from the store then they get a rather generous 20% discount on it. This is on top of a whole host of other benefits that the company provides.

On this page, we want to explore a little bit more about what Trader Joe’s does and how they reward their employees. 

Background On Trader Joe’s

Trader Joe’s is a grocery store chain in the United States.

This is a company that tries to be similar to your local store. They offer affordable prices, but high-quality products. Nearly everything sold in the store is under one of the many brands owned by Trader Joe’s.

If you have ever headed into a Trader Joe’s store, then you will know that they keep their employees to a minimum. This is to help them to trim costs to ensure that their prices remain low.

Of course, it is important to Trader Joe’s that when they find a quality staff member for their stores, that staff member stays for the long term. They do not have the time nor the money to keep training brand-new employees.

This is why any employee that works at Trader Joe’s receives a generous benefits package. This benefits package is far superior to the ones that you would find at any other grocery store in the United States.

This has created a culture where people absolutely love to work for the company, and you will often find that Trader Joe’s employees remain employed at the company for years. 

Employee Benefits at Trader Joe’s

We are going to talk about the free food offers in the next section. For now, let’s take a look at the main benefits that a person can enjoy if they decide to work at Trader Joe’s.

Competitive Pay

The rate of pay at Trader Joe’s is always going to be dependent on the store that somebody works at. Some areas will pay more than others.

However, Trader Joe’s almost always pays about the minimum wage, and they always pay better than the other grocery stores in the local area.

Once you are an employee, there is an opportunity to receive a pay rise of up to 7% per year. This is going to be dependent on performance reviews.

Retirement Plan

Those employees that wish to plan for their retirement have the ability to contribute to their 401(k) plan. Trader Joe’s is also known for giving advice on retirement.

You will find that a lot of people will work at Trader Joe’s up until retirement, so a benefit like this is fantastic!

Store Discount

Every employee gets a flat 20% discount on everything sold at Trader Joe’s. No other grocery store in the country (at least major chain wise) will offer any store discount anywhere close to this.

Obviously, there is the downside that you can’t purchase everything that you need from Trader Joe’s, but you should be able to get most of it there, and it will result in employees saving a rather healthy sum of cash on their groceries each month.

Paid Time Off

Each year, employees can earn between 5 and 10 days of paid time off. This PTO can roll over too, which means that you can save up for a couple of years and have a rather long vacation ahead of you.

Health Plan

For as little as $25 per month, employees can contribute to a substantial healthcare package that Trader Joe’s has in place. This includes standard healthcare, dental, and teeth coverage. 

Promotion Opportunities 

When there is a promotion opportunity, the vast majority of promotions are going to happen internally. This means that people have a ton of potential opportunities to further their careers within the Trader Joe’s company. 

Availability of Free Food for Trader Joe’s Employees

Trader Joe’s does not offer free food to their employees outside of store tasting sessions.

Every so often, employees will be called into a tasting session. Here, they are going to be able to taste new products that are about to hit the shelves in the store. 

The type of food available at these gatherings can be quite varied, although it is claimed that you will be having a rather delicious feast if you are lucky enough to be at one.

Since we have tasted the food at Trader Joe’s, we have no doubt that these tasting sessions are awesome. 

Advantages and Disadvantages of Free Food for Trader Joe’s Employees

The tasting sessions have a couple of advantages for Trader Joe’s employees (and for the business):

  • Employees feel as if they are part of the product selection process. Their feedback is taken into account. If taste sessions don’t go well, those products aren’t added to the store.
  • The employees love free food. it is another perk for the company.

There are very few disadvantages here. Obviously, giving away the food is going to cost Trader Joe’s money. However, we doubt that it is going to cost them so much that it makes these tasting sessions not worth it. The pros certainly outweigh the cons. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What Benefits Do You Get Working at Trader Joe’s?

20% discount on food, access to a retirement fund, healthcare, and paid time off. Other benefits including scholarships may be dependent on the store. 

How Many Hours Do You Need to Work at Trader Joe’s to Get Benefits?

You have to work at least 27 hours per week to qualify for benefits if you work at Trader Joe’s.

How Often Do Trader Joe’s Employees Get a Raise?

Once every year. 

Final Thoughts

Trader Joe’s employees do not directly get free food. Instead, every so often, they will be invited to a tasting session where they can sample new additions to the product range.

There are several other benefits to working at Trader Joe’s, though. Perhaps the biggest of them is the 20% discount on all products in the store. Anybody interested in working at Trader Joe’s is advised to check their website. 


Shane is a fitness enthusiast who also has a passion for trying and cooking new foods. His favorite stores to shop at include Trader Joe's, Wholefoods Market, Sprouts, Stater Brothers, and Target.

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